Film has never seen a collaboration like that between Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, a fiercely intellectual husband-wife duo whose decades-spanning oeuvre aimed to spark a revolution among the masses. Hailed by critics, academics, and filmmakers alike, their entire filmography - encompassing films long-unavailable in the U.S. and many never before released - is now proudly presented by Grasshopper Film. (note: films not yet restored are listed in the 35mm rental section).
A powerful, almost surreal distillation of a story by Heinrich Böll, Straub-Huillet's debut work concerns a former Nazi colonel who takes advantage of his political and sexual status in post-war Germany.
Straub-Huillet's heralded feature debut eschews conventional form and storytelling to chart the origins and legacy of Nazism, as well as the moral demands of obedience and sacrifice within the German bourgeois family, in this vigorous adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s novel.
In one of their most sublime and acclaimed films, Straub-Huillet attempt to capture Bach’s ineffable artistry — based on recitations of Anna Magdalena’s intimate, yet fictionalized, letters to her husband, as well as performances in the very rooms and churches where Bach composed and conducted them.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder stars alongside his future collaborators — Hanna Scyhgulla, Irm Hermann, and Peer Raben — in this short, radical condensation of Ferdinand Bruckner’s 1926 play Pains of Youth that incorporates the screeds of Mao and May '68 protesters.
A faithful adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s Othon, the classic tragedy that premiered at the court of Louis XIV at Fontainebleau in 1664 and today is more hallowed than actually performed, Eyes do not want to close… depicts the power vacuum that followed Emperor Nero’s death.
This complex interpretation of Brecht’s unfinished novel The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar explores history as it has been written by the victors, with their hero worship of tyrannical leaders (whether Caesar or Hitler), and offers an alternate view of history writing as fractured and potentially revolutionary.
One of Straub-Huillet's major films, this adaptation of Schoenberg’s unfinished opera is a thrilling and rigorous consideration of Biblical and archaeological history, particularly with respect to the collective memory of the Egyptian enslavement of the Hebrews and the Exodus.
An elegiac and damning meditation on abuses of power and historical amnesia, this film records communist critic Franco Fortini reading excerpts of his book The Dogs of Sinai, which condemns capitalism and the state of Israel in the aftermath of the Six Day War while reflecting on his own Jewish heritage.
Based on six mythological encounters in Cesar Pavese’s Dialogues with Leucò, and on Pavese’s last novel, The Moon and the Bonfires, about the savage murders of Italian anti-Fascist resistance fighters during World War II, this film bridges history and myth, modernity and antiquity.
Inspired by a Friedrich Engels letter and a 1974 account of two militant Marxist writers imprisoned by the Nasser regime, Straub-Huillet reflect on Egypt’s history of peasant struggle and liberation from Western colonization, linking it to class tensions in France shortly before the Revolution of 1789.
Originally released on a double bill with Eric Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach, a short about a precocious, determined nine-year-old boy, and a story concerning a rejection of all forms of authority, whether family, school, or nation.
Inspired by D. W. Griffith’s 1909 short film A Corner in Wheat, a Biblical tale of avarice, divine retribution, and the prolonged suffering of the masses, Straub-Huillet offer a dialectical montage of cause (capitalist greed) and effect (the poverty of the farmer and the urban underclass).
At the end of filming Umiliati, Straub and Huillet gave thanks to the cast and crew in a graceful way: by inviting Dolando Bernardini to sing several stanzas from Torquato Tasso’s 16th-century epic poem Jerusalem Delivered.
In Straub-Huillet's last feature length collaboration before Huillet's death in 2006, villagers gather in the Tuscan countryside to recite scenes from Cesare Pavese’s Dialogues with Leucò, a series of meditations on human destiny, both comical and tragic, between ancient Greek mythological figures.
On October 27, 2005, two teenage boys of Mauritanian and Tunisian origin were electrocuted as they fled the police. Their deaths sparked nearly three weeks of riots across France. Straub-Huillet document this tragedy in their final collaboration, an imaginative response to Rossellini's Europa ’51.
In various guises and melodic fashion, Cornelia Geiser recites verses from Pierre Corneille’s Horace and Othon, and extended excerpts from Bertolt Brecht’s The Trial of Lucullus, in which the Roman General is summoned to the underworld to stand trial for the sufferings he inflicted on commoners and slaves
In darkness, we hear a recording of the scandalous 1954 debut performance of Edgar Varèse’s revolutionary Déserts at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Then, in a different sort of Elysian Field, we hear a recitation of Canto XXXIII from The Inferno.
Returning from the forest of shades, a quietly defiant Orpheus tells a Bacchante it was free will, not destiny, which compelled him to cast the fatal gaze on his wife Eurydice, recognizing their love as a thing of the past and his own place in the world of living souls.
Another film based on Straub’s memories of growing up in Metz and a work by Maurice Barrès, in which a young country doctor, the son of a French Alsatian bourgeois, is forced to choose between “the French soul and the German deed."
In the sun-dappled Tuscan countryside, the boar hunter Meleager, having been murdered by his own mother to avenge the tragic accidental killing of his brother, engages in conversation about fragility, resistance, and love, with Hermes, who has taken female form.
Straub’s abridged retelling of Kafka's story, which has been interpreted in myriad ways and embraced and rejected in equal measure by Arabs and Jews of divergent persuasions, bears fascinating affinities with his and Huillet’s interpretation of the author's Amerika in Class Relations.
Straub’s testament of love was made seven years after the 2006 death of his partner and collaborator Danièle Huillet, and nearly 60 years after they met in Paris and planned to adapt this short story by Georges Bernanos, author of Diary of a Country Priest and Mouchette.
Six scenes concerning resistance to “forms of domination and violence of man on man,” including Communist prisoners who face down their Fascist interrogators during World War II and Egyptian workers and peasants who revolt against their colonial exploiters in 1919.
As a young man, Straub fled to West Germany after refusing to fight for France in the Algerian War. Later in his life, he returned to this bitter historical experience with this terse noir about “the instinct to heal” and to murder.
In his newest work, Straub considers Malraux's writings while creating a cosmic interplay between Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Savior, a fish tank at a Parisian Chinese restaurant, Renoir’s 1938 film La Marseillaise, and the Jung Institute of Paris.
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